Go is the New Poker?

And so it ends, with Google’s AI winning 4 out of 5 Go games against a top Korean player.

A few days ago, this part of an article after the third game caught my eye:

The machine plays like no human ever would—quite literally. […] The result is a machine that often makes the most inhuman of moves.

 

This happened in Game Two—in a very big way. With its 19th move, AlphaGo made a play that shocked just about everyone, including both the commentators and Lee Sedol, who needed nearly fifteen minutes to choose a response. The commentators couldn’t even begin to evaluate AlphaGo’s move, but it proved effective. Three hours later, AlphaGo had won the match.  


Remember when the amateur players flooded the poker playing community about 15 years ago? Just after Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker?  Many long time professionals were baffled.  The new kids were playing a completely different game, often informed by playing thousands of hands of poker — often four or more at a time — at home on their computers.

The game changed and everyone had to adapt.

Many professional poker players adapted by taking on endorsement deals, hitching their stars to shady on-line poker sites, and teaching the game.

Isn’t that always the way, though?  The first to make money wind up teaching it to the throngs who want to follow in their footsteps. And 99% of them won’t, but they’ll splash some money around, anyway.

Your Birthday on the Internet

Your birthday is the day that you’re reminded of any message boards you joined in the last twenty years:

birthday email greetings from message board forums

And that CVS thinks you’re beautiful. Aw, shucks.

Also, it’s a reminder that Google KNOWS you.

Google's logo changes for your birthday

…which, I have to admit, is pretty cool.

It’s also the one day of the year everyone remembers you’re on Facebook, and you feel guilty about all the people you didn’t wish a happy birthday back to in the last year.

ReaderPocalypse

Google today announced that they’re shutting down Google Reader on July 1st. It’s a product they’ve willed out of existence, with a steady stream of neglect. That’s why this quote seems a little two-faced:

“We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites,” SVP of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle writes in the blog post. “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined….”

Of course it has. It’s been broken for months for many people and Google did nothing about it. They’ve decided to put all their eggs in the Google+ basket and gave up on Reader a long time ago. And Google honestly wonders why usage declined? Because they abandoned the ship! Nobody knew is coming on board a sinking ship. Google is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The good news is that with Google relinquishing its overwhelming majority of the RSS Reader market, this might just pave the way for others to “innovate” in “the space” and give us something new and better. And, as many have already joked, that’s when Google will swoop in and buy them. UGH

One of the competitors, Feedly is down for the count tonight. Too much traffic in the wake of Reader’s demise, I bet.

But who can replace Google Reader for me? Here’s what I need:

  • Web-based, not an iPhone or iPad app
  • Keyboard controls, to help me zip through all the feeds I like to read quickly
  • Preferably, able to import my current list of subscriptions from Google Reader, but that’s optional
  • Something that will get through the proxy filter at work.

It doesn’t need to be free. In fact, I’d happily pay for this service, just because it makes it less attractive a company to be bought up and dismantled by the likes of vultures like Google.

Google also announced the departure of Android guru, Andy Rubin, who’s moving on to other projects at Google. I’d put my bets on a Google Watch. They need to catch up faster to Apple than they did with the MacBook Air, so now they’re trying to catch up to the rumors of what Apple might be doing. (Seriously, take a look at the Chromebook and tell me it doesn’t just look like a cheap MacBook Air, years later. Hey, it’s got a Samsung logo on it, so the pattern holds…)